Hawksbury Lagoon and Wild Life Refuge (Waikouaiti)
This semi-tidal lagoon has more than 26 different species of birds. Black swans now breed there along with Mallards, Paradise and Shell Duck, NZ Shoveler and many more nest at the side of the Lagoon. Spoonbills have been seen on the lagoon in recent years in groups of 30 or 40. There is a lovely walking track across the causeway which has been planted with NZ Natives this leads down to the beach. The Hawksbury Lagoon website is here..
Huriaway Peninsula Reserve and Walkway (Karitane)
Huriawa Peninsula is the site of the Pa of Te Wera and the site of the legendary siege. This area has been developed by the Department of Conservation and Kati Huirapa Runaka ki Puketeraki. When using the walkway remember that this is private land owned by the Runaka. Out of respect for the local people please do not dig or remove plants. The walkway passes the blow holes where the incoming tide is forced up through the rocks. Views from the walkway are spectacular out over Taiaroa Heads to the South and Matanaka and Butterfly bay to the North. Plaques along the way tell the history of the area and show the site of the old Waikouaiti Whaling Station and Tavern.
On the Water
Karitane Charters offer sailing experiences aboard the Catamaran Caprice which does day sails or overnight sails, corporate, social or private chartered sails for up to 20 passengers or 8 overnight guests. Karitane Kayak offers sea kayaking experiences for all. General hire to explore the estuary and river at your leisure of guided tours of the local coast line and the magnificent Matanaka Caves. East Otago's best kept secret. Karitane Charters offer a range of customized charters for you or a group to enjoy game fishing, diving, wild life tours, surfing experiences, remote beach BBQ's or swimming with the dolphins.
St John's Anglican Church (Waikouaiti)
St John's Anglican Church in Beach Street Waikouaiti is the first Church built in Otago. It has a Historic Places Trust "1" classification, registration no 334. The land for the Church was donated by Johnny Jones in 1857. Johnny Jones also provided the money for the building and arranged a generous endowment for its support. The church was designed by DW Mountford and build with native timber taken from the Hawkesbury bush. The Church was opened on Sunday the 19th of December 1858. It features spectacular lead light windows.
Otago's first Farm established by Johnny Jones around 1840. There is a stable, a granary, a school house, a privy and a farm shed still standing today. These are probably the oldest surviving farm buildings in NZ, they are sign posted from State Highway one. Inside the farm shed is an old whaling boat. The buildings are cared for by the historic places trust and are open to the public.
Waikouaiti Coast Heritage Centre
Waikouaiti Coast Heritage Centre is situated on Waikouaiti's Main Street. This regional museum is housed in a former bank, built in the 1860's, a grade 2 historic building. It houses a collection of 9000 items dating back to the first settlement of the area. The town's Information Centre is also based here. For opening hours please visit the website here..
Karitane beach is a popular surfing beach and even in the winter time surfers can be seen enjoying the waves. In summer time the population of Karitane increases dramatically as the Cribbies com out to enjoy the beaches and river. Enjoy searching for crabs, starfish and shell fish off the rocks at either end of the beach of simply walking along the beach. Sea lions can often be seen basking in the sun on the beach. Natures playground for Children.
Waikouaiti Beach is approximately 4km long and the picturesque bay curves between the township of Waikouaiti and Karitane. Local race horse trainers train their horses along the beach at low tide most days. This is a great beach for walking or biking at low tide.
Waikouaiti River and Estuary.
The beautiful Waikouaiti river is popular for white baiting, eeling, fishing, kayaking, swimming and birdwatching. In the summer months families enjoy searching for cockles in the sand at the river mouth of searching for crabs. Their is a great view of Sir Truby King's historic homestead from the river mouth. The local River Care group has planted hundreds of natives plants along the banks of the river and large groups of spoonbills can be seen feeding at low tide.
Waikouaiti Golf Course
The Waikouaiti Golf Course is situated on Edinburgh Street in Waikouaiti bordered by the beach on one side and the scenic Hawkesbury Lagoon on the other. It is a 9 hole course with 18 tee areas. Green fee players are welcome. Women's competition day is Tuesday and Club competition Saturday.
Waikouaiti Community Library.
The Waikouaiti Community Library is located on State highway one in Waikouaiti, Ph 4657 807. The public library first opened in Waikouaiti in 1862. It is now one of four community libraries in the Dunedin Libraries Network. The library is a warm, welcoming facility offering a broad range of books, magazines, DVD's, CD's and talking books for adults. The Children's section is a fun friendly place to spend time with a comprehensive range of books puzzles and games to keep children entertained. Internet searching is free and fast. Daily newspapers, an extensive local history collection, catalogue online, book discussion groups, meeting spaces, sunny window seats, toilet and baby changing facilities. A great place to visit.